from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will
County, Illinois.Appeal No. 3-15-0321 Circuit No.
01-CF-495The Honorable Sarah-Marie F. Jones, Judge,
JUSTICE McDADE delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Carter and O'Brien concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 After being found fit to stand trial, the defendant, Jason
D. Richey, pled guilty to first degree murder (720 ILCS
5/9-1(a)(1) (West 2000)) in Will County circuit court and was
sentenced to 45 years of imprisonment. He did not file a
direct appeal. Three years later, he filed pro se
petitions for relief from judgment and for postconviction
relief, the latter of which alleged, inter alia,
that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to file a
motion to suppress his confession to police. The circuit
court dismissed Richey's postconviction petition as
frivolous and patently without merit. Richey appealed, and
this court reversed and remanded for the appointment of new
counsel to amend his pro se postconviction petition.
People v. Richey, No. 3-04-0839, slip order at 9
(2009) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23)
(hereinafter Richey I).
2 After remand, the expert who found Richey fit to stand
trial evaluated him again for a retroactive determination of
his ability to understand and waive his Miranda
rights and to give a voluntary statement to police. The
expert was unable to render an opinion, and postconviction
counsel thereafter filed a motion to withdraw. The circuit
court granted the motion, and the State subsequently filed a
motion to dismiss Richey's postconviction petition. The
court granted the State's motion, and Richey appealed. On
appeal, Richey argues that the court erred when it granted
postconviction counsel's motion to withdraw. We reverse
and remand for further proceedings.
4 On March 22, 2001, Henry Baker was murdered. The following
day, Richey confessed to the police that he killed Baker. On
April 18, 2001, Richey was charged by indictment with first
degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1) (West 2000)). His public
defender filed a motion for fitness examination, noting that
he had been diagnosed with Major Depressive Affective
Disorder with suicidal ideation as well as with Borderline
Personality Disorder, had received psychiatric treatment on
several occasions, had received electroconvulsive therapy,
and had been taking several psychotropic medications.
5 On July 11, 2001, the State filed a superseding indictment
that charged Richey with 11 criminal counts; 7 were
alternative murder charges, and the other 4 were home
invasion, robbery, armed robbery, and residential burglary.
6 On July 17, 2001, Dr. Randi Zoot compiled a report of her
psychological examination of Richey. Dr. Zoot reviewed
numerous records and conducted an interview of Richey in
arriving at her opinion. She stated, inter alia,
that Richey suffered from "a serious and significant
recurrent mood disorder exacerbated by polysubstance abuse
and alcohol dependence. He also has characteristics of a
borderline personality disorder with antisocial traits."
She opined "[t]here is no evidence to suggest that his
mental disorder impaired his ability to understand the
wrongfulness of his actions, however, alcohol would have
played a significant role in loosening up his already
7 On September 26, 2001, Richey pled guilty to one count of
first degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(2), (b)(6) (West
2000)). He was sentenced to 45 years of imprisonment in
connection with his fully negotiated guilty plea. He did not
file any posttrial motions and did not attempt to appeal his
conviction and sentence.
8 On September 13, 2004, Richey filed pro se
petitions for relief from judgment and postconviction relief.
In relevant part, the latter petition alleged that trial
counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion to
suppress his statement to police given his history of mental
health issues. Specifically, Richey emphasized that he was on
medication at the time that he gave the statement and that
the police told him that unless he cooperated with them, they
would not return him to the medical facility at which he was
residing. The circuit court dismissed Richey's
postconviction petition as frivolous and patently without
merit, and Richey appealed.
9 On appeal, this court held that the circuit court erred
when it dismissed Richey's postconviction petition as
frivolous and patently without merit. Richey I, slip
order at 9. In arriving at that conclusion, this court stated
that "while [Dr. Zoot] opined that although defendant
understood the wrongfulness of his actions his condition
impaired his ability to control them.
lack of control could have affected what, if anything,
defendant told police or his ability to understand the
consequences of doing so." Id. at 8. Further,
this court stated that had the motion to suppress been
successful, Richey might have chosen not to plead guilty.
Id. Thus, this court ruled that Richey had presented
the gist of a constitutional claim and remanded the case for
the circuit court to appoint counsel to amend Richey's
postconviction petition. Id. at 9.
10 On remand, the circuit court appointed Dr. Zoot to examine
Richey to determine his ability to comprehend his
Miranda rights and his waiver of those rights ...